By Rob Starr, Big4.com Content Manager
Stacey Hawley is a leading female executive-compensation advisor who understands how pay is determined and rewards and benefits are granted in corporate America. She’s the founder of Credo, a career services provider for companies and individuals. Recently we talked with her about several career development issues that are particular to women.
Hawley started by supplying a fresh perspective on one of the cornerstones of any discussion on women’s career trajectories, bias and how having one in a work environment can actually have a positive outcome in the end.
“There are lots of instances where bias can lead to something more productive and groundbreaking,” she says. “For example, you could have a boss whose presumption is a woman might have a hard time coming back to work after having a child and he might work hard at helping her to acclimate.”
She points out there can often be positive outcomes even though the nature of the word itself implies otherwise. Hawley also says women who are subjected to unconscious bias of
the negative variety need to take a much more active role in combating these negative thought patterns.
“They need to be much more of an active player in their careers, in the relationship with their managers, and in setting their goals.”
Setting these goals is an important part of the process and Hawley stresses they need to be
exactly what any person in the company would expect without taking gender into consideration. She offers some clear suggestions on the steps that lead to success.
“Women can overcome negative bias in their business relationships by having solid relationships with their mangers where they actually talk about their concerns,” she says. “Just sitting down with your manager and vocalizing is a huge step.”
Hawley also points out that corporate world has changed and what were once clearly defined roles based on gender have blurred to the advantage of both sexes. She says many modern male managers understand the requirements of women who are parents in the corporate structure.
“Men have children too,” she says. “There are a lot of men that want to be at the baseball game and the school recital and the parent/teacher conferences. Times are very different than they were twenty years ago.”
Her positive experiences in consulting with hundreds of companies have also made it harder for Hawley to make any kind of blanket or generic statements about any of the groups involved.
“I’m talking about the bias that people have themselves. If you talk about something like a confidence gap, it might be something that I’m assuming my manager is thinking as an employee,” she says. “I’ve had experiences both personally and professionally with managers and executives that work hard at overcoming bias.”
Buy a copy of Hawley’s new book here.